Who is Ready for the Holidays?-written by Fatima, GiGi’s NYC Participant

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays GiGi’s NYC!

There are some magical holidays to celebrate in December. For example, Hanukkah, National Hot Cocoa Day, National Lemon Cupcake Day, National Ugly Sweater Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and so many more.

Hanukkah began on the evening of Thursday, December 7th, and ended on Friday, December 15th. On this day, people celebrate the occasion by lightning candles on the menorah, eating festive foods, playing dreidel, and sending gifts. Potato latkes, sufganiyahs (doughnuts filled with jam), and chocolate gelt coins are given out during this holiday. 

National Hot Cocoa Day was celebrated on Wednesday, December 13th, and a lot of people celebrate the occasion in different ways. For example, it’s popular to gather with friends and have everyone bring their favorite recipe and all of their favorite varieties. There are as many different hot cocoa recipes as there are individuals. You could make it in different ways like with white, dark, milk, or bittersweet chocolate. You can also have hot chocolate with peppermint or marshmallows. I like to have hot cocoa made with Hershey’s chocolate and 10 mini marshmallows.

National Lemon Cupcake Day was on Friday, December 15th, and a lot of people celebrate the occasion on this day by baking lemon cupcakes. These are good for celebrating birthdays, friendship, or love. I enjoy different types of lemon cupcakes with sugar, chocolate, or lemon icing. My grandmother, Maureen, makes lemon cake from scratch with sugar icing which I enjoy having besides lemon cupcakes. 

National Ugly Sweater Day fell on Friday, December 15th. It is popular to go to an ugly sweater Christmas party on this day. These parties are a great way to get into the sprit of Christmas. At these parties you can sing Christmas carols for karaoke, decorate gingerbread cookies, and decorate the Christmas tree. 

Christmas Eve will be celebrated on Sunday, December 24th. This is the most magical time of year. On this day, a lot of people celebrate the occasion in many different ways. People enjoy exchanging gifts and cards with loved ones, helping others decorate their homes, watching parades, attending parties, sending prayers, sharing food and drinks, going to church with family, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and celebrating the love that we have for the people that are in our lives.

Christmas Day will be celebrated on Monday, December 25th, and a lot of people celebrate the occasion in different ways. Some examples include hosting family dinner, putting up a tree and decorating it with ornaments and lights, getting gifts, visiting relatives’ homes, having a hot chocolate party with family, and making breakfast as a family.

Kwanzaa begins on Tuesday, December 26th, this year and runs until Monday, January 1st, 2024. This holiday is a celebration of African-American culture, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually on the sixth day. Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their homes with objects of art, colorful African cloth, and fresh fruits. A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections.

New Years’s Eve will be celebrated on Sunday, December 31st, and a lot of people celebrate the occasion in different ways. For example, people like to host parties at home or attend special celebrations to celebrate the upcoming new year, set off fireworks, and exchange gifts with loved ones. Also, people plan some fun party games and activities such as a trivia quiz or a dance party.

My New Year’s resolutions for 2024 include working on cooking and eating healthier meals, including more salads and vegetables, spending more quality time with my boyfriend Peter, visiting my grandparents more often, spending more quality time with my father including going to the mosque with him, working out at the gym twice a week, hanging out with friends from GiGi’s NYC, going for longer walks, going to the movies on the weekends with those closest to me, looking for another job, traveling to other places in the world, attending Saturday programs at GiGi’s NYC, and taking religion, baking, and art classes.

The holidays are all about spending time with loved ones, celebrating the love we have for those closest to us, giving to others, and getting presents. 

Wishing all of you Happy Holidays and a peaceful and Happy New Year. 

Sending everyone a lot of peace, love, and joy this holiday season. May you feel the season of experiences. 

Love always,


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